A little while ago you may remember that we hosted a fabulous holiday giveaway to Italy via Bookings For You. Our lucky winner was Robyn from Kent who has just returned from an incredible week in Lake Maggiore. I’ve asked Robyn to share her favourite moments of the week and pass on some tips for our upcoming holiday to the Italian Lakes.
Before I share Robyn’s first and lasting impressions of Lake Maggiore let me just share some fabulous news with you… Jo the owner of Bookings For You was so pleased with the interest in our exclusive giveaway that she has kindly offered to let us host another one in September. So do keep checking back to be in with a chance to win a holiday in Italy like Robyn!
Let’s start Robyn by telling us about your reaction to winning the week in Italy!
Robyn – “I honestly couldn’t believe it. My lap top had been in for repair so I didn’t find out until a couple of days after you announced it. I kept reading the email over and over again just to check it wasn’t a joke. I logged into social media and saw the announcement on Facebook and it slowly began to skin in. I was absolutely thrilled to bits!”
You were able to take five friends or family members with you, who were the lucky chosen ones?
“I started thinking about friends and seriously considered a girls week away, but as it takes us about 3 months to arrange a lunch date never mind a week away! I also knew most of my friends had already made arrangements for their summer holidays, I started to look a bit closer to home. My daughter Charlotte and her friends were just finishing their GCSEs and they had all worked really hard so I decided to treat them. Although we could have taken more, I decided to let Charlotte take 3 of her closest friends and needless to say, phones started frantically pinging and didn’t stop until the day we left!”
What was your first impression of Lake Maggiore and Villa Sereni?
“Once word covers both – breathtaking. Villa Sereni is beautiful and you can tell the owners have put a lot of thought into it. There is nothing you could want for as the entire villa is so well equipped. Both double bedrooms have balconies with absolutely stunning views across the lake. All the rooms are large, airy and tastefully decorated. There are steps down to the villa and stairs inside so it is probably not suitable for disabled visitors, but it is totally secure and safe for little ones.
We didn’t travel too far from home as I was the only driver. It didn’t take us long to find our favourite beach which was just 5 mins away in Maccagno. Beaches on the lake are stoney, but the water is clear and we used to sit under the shade of the trees.
We visited Luino the nearest town a few times and really enjoyed the experience of walking around a local market, I could have spent a small fortune on Italian shoes. The girls enjoyed checking out the deli stalls which had an amazing selection for meats, cheeses, pastries, fruit and veg.
I can’t remember the name of our favourite restaurant but it was opposite the ferry port. We enjoyed the most amazing pizzas starting at 5 euros. One thing we did notice during meals out at restaurants was that there was a table charge at most of the places we ate at, so my advice to anyone going on holiday to Italy would be to check the bill before you tip.”
What was your most memorable day on holiday?
“I don’t think I had a favourite day as we had such a lovely time every day, but I did enjoy taking the ferry from Luino to the other side of the lake. The ferry is about 8 euros return to Cannobio and it stops at Cannero on the way. (I am not saying Cannero looked expensive but we saw a chamber maid hoovering the outside walls on a balcony!) The ferry takes about half an hour and when you get off at Cannobio you are greeted by lots of places to eat. It did seem a bit more expensive than Luino, but not excessively so and we had a really lovely meal overlooking the lake. Cannobio has one of the few sandy beaches on the lake.
There are inflatables that the kids can go bonkers on for 5 euros an hour and a bar for refreshments. In the evening lots of stalls pop up selling all sorts of things.”
Any recommendations for visiting Lake Maggiore with kids?
Firstly don’t try and do it without a car (though you may want to leave it at the top of the steep drive down to Villa Serini). Not only is the villa too far to walk from the nearest towns and beaches, but there are so many places to explore. A broken toe limited the amount we got to see, but that being said there is more than enough to do within a 5 or 10 minute drive. Kids will love the tourist train (see below), the ferry trip and the beach at Cannobio and you may find as we did, that the beach a Maccagno and restaurants in Luino have everything you need.
“I just want to thank you and Jo for the most amazing trip Lisa. Italy has been on my bucket list for a long long time. I don’t think I would have thought of going to the Italian Lakes but I am pretty sure this will not be my last visit. The girls and I all had such a wonderful holiday and we are all so grateful for the memories you helped us create.”
Check back soon as we are hosting another exclusive giveaway (like this one) with Jo at Bookings For You in September! ** Please note our giveaway winners are not obliged to write up about their experiences, Robyn kindly offered to share her experience and photos as she and her girls had such a wonderful time!